Posts Tagged ‘witty’

Reality, really?

June 2, 2012

I recently saw a commercial for a new television show that features Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Ozzie Osbourne’s wife judging whether people have talent. I will wait as you chuckle at the irony of this. Believe me, I did. After doing so my first thought was I would rather be locked in a room with Jeffrey Dahmer, Sarah Palin and a tiger shark then be forced to watch such a show. The second thought was that reality television has taken over TV and threatens to take over the world leaving us all brainless.

When I watch TV I do so to escape from reality not to observe it. I want to see well written and acted shows that make me laugh, keep me in suspense or make me want to be David Duchovny. However, it seems like people who share my taste for traditional drama instead of “baby daddy” drama are in the minority.

The general television viewing audience has become obsessed with watching other people’s lives unfold before their eyes. What makes no sense to me is, if people are so interested in real life why are they observing it through a television screen? No matter how big or how high a definition a television you have the picture is never going to be better than what you get in real life. No matter what reality television show your brain claims you like real life has a better alternative to offer.

American Idol is a perfect example. Every time I see a commercial for it I wonder how it is possibly still on the air. Why would anyone choose to watch this show? You have a pimple-covered teenager belting out an off-key rendition of Journey while Stephen Tyler’s corpse humps a table. That doesn’t sound appealing. I would much rather go out and see a talented, local band like the Paragraphs rather than subject myself to FOX’s take on live music.

The sad phenomenon of reality television got its start on MTV when in 1992 they released The Real World. The popularity of that show proved that people were interested in spying on other people’s lives. The Real World flourished and before you knew it reality television had taken over MTV. What had once been a network where you could find quality music videos made by creative people turned into a joke that only played mindless reality shows designed to make the viewer dumber.

Unfortunately all these shows are different variations of the same concept. Just throw a bunch of people who are pre-destined not to get along, shove them in a house or on a island or a fishing boat and watch the sparks fly as people stop being polite and start talking shit for real. That’s formula one. Formula two is as follows: They put someone on stage who claims to be funny or play music or just simply because they are grossly overweight. Then they assemble a panel of former celebrities who haven’t been famous for five years and call them judges or coaches or dance partners. Lastly they allow you, the general television viewing audience, to text message which contestant is your favorite. The winner of the show gets to be a judge five years from now.

There is no creativity in these shows even if they are, as I believe, scripted just like a fictional program would be. I agree that writing anything takes creativity but when the end result is in the form of a reality television show that rule gets thrown out the window. How stimulated can one’s creative side truly be when they are watching rich housewives throw fake charity parties that always predictably end with a cat fight between two women who have so much plastic injected into them that they could both pass for action figures?

Real life changes constantly, that’s what makes it real. Reality television on the other hand is always the same which leads me to believe it isn’t really real, but is simply poorly crafted garbage written by ass clowns not talented enough to write a witty crime drama. I believe that the writers of reality television, if you choose to call them that, put the plot on paper and then allow the “real people” they are filming to act in response to the script they are handed.

I can’t help but laugh at people who truly believe that every minute of the reality television they watch is really happening on the fly with no sort of preparation for what is playing out on camera. I believe it is somewhat naïve to think that a television network would ever allow that sort of freedom to be seen. Freedom is the last thing television networks want us to have.

With freedom comes power and with too much of that people might start turning their televisions off. Networks can’t have that. To prevent such an outrage they dumb down their programming just enough to keep the average viewer stimulated, but not deeply enough to require thought. The more of this sort of programming you view the less important your brain becomes because you no longer need it to be entertained. Then one day every free thought that might have popped into your head has been replaced with season two of Jersey Shore and once you reach that point you are fucked .

I recommend taking your brain back before that happens to you. Remind yourself of what it feels like to think freely. If you want to relax and watch a little television choose something that will keep stimulating your brain like an old school episode of X-Files. Or turn off the television and read a book, like Love Life, my second novel which will be available soon on Amazon and Kindle. If that doesn’t interest you then simply walk outside and see what real life is really like.

The Bad Bartender Chronicles III

May 12, 2012

With modern technology cell phones have come a long way. Devices that used to be dedicated to just phone conversations have evolved into mini computers that allow people to avoid human contact with other people for weeks at a time. These hi-tech phones also allow people to ignore each other in a blatant manner under the guise of being busy on one’s phone. This has especially become rampant in the bar business where it seems bartenders feel like they need to constantly have their cell phone within arm’s reach.

I understand there are special circumstances. People have kids and sick loved ones and gambling problems and in the event of an emergency may need to leave the bar to take a call. However, nowadays people normally want their phone around in case they think of something witty to post on twitter or want to leave a comment on facebook every time they think of a new way to pour a cactus cooler or because they are engrossed in a new app they just downloaded that tells them what kind of panties a girl is wearing as she walks by.

There is nothing more frustrating than walking into a bar with a strong thirst for a pint and upon sitting down seeing a bartender with his back to the bar. Upon further inspection, you see that he is standing in front of the register and briefly you forgive him for breaking this golden rule of bartending. After almost a minute it becomes evident that there is no transaction being processed through the register. You peer down the bar and see that there are five people waiting all with empty glasses. The music is loud but even over it you can hear the bartender give out a chuckle. You move down a few stools for a better view and see that the bartender is too busy on his phone texting to even know that you want a drink. If you ever witness this leave whatever establishment you are at immediately.

The internet in the palm of one’s hand can be very distracting. Some people feel as if armed with this power of information they are able to answer any question or issue thrown their way. Bars have long been a place of great debate. The key to winning most debates are facts and what used to be found in dictionaries, sports almanacs and classic issues of playboy can now be found in modern day cell phones.

Of course there is always the guy who believes his fancy phone can find any piece of information no matter how obscure or asinine the fact faster than anyone else, anywhere. He wears his phone on his hip ready for any software duel. As always there is a regular game for the challenge. They draw their phones and race to find out what 1980’s movie featured the Paul Simon song that just finished playing on the jukebox.  I watch from my side of the bar as the bartender leans both elbows on the bar top as he furiously types his way through countless pages of 1980’s movie trivia. Once my glass of whiskey goes without for five minutes or more my patience wears out and I leave, never return to such a place.

A cell phone’s original purpose, once again, was to be a mobile device people could have phone conversations on. Even that most simple function of a cell phone shouldn’t be used when one is working behind the bar. Only two results can come from this, either people are going to be rudely ignored or receive shitty and absent-minded service.

For example take the girl who will continue to serve people while chatting away on the phone. You’ve seen her before. She prances around the bar mis-pouring drinks because she is only half listening to orders while the other half of her half a brain is listening to whoever is on the other side of her cell phone. It’s even worse when after fucking up she apologizes, covers the mouthpiece of the phone and mouths the words “my boss” to you. For some reason she thinks this makes it okay. If this statement is actually true then it makes me wonder why the fuck am I spending money at a bar owned by someone dumb enough to condone such behavior in their business.

The other girl will just stare at you while she talks on her phone. It is apparent whatever conversation she is holding is far more important than getting me drunk, making herself and the bar money or most simply doing her fucking job. Whether she is laughing or feigning sadness to whoever is rambling in her ear, her lack of common sense is never lost on me. Then, when I try to engage her in a last ditch effort to get my drink on, she sticks a bony smoke stained finger with a hot pink painted nail in my face signaling for me to hold on. You are supposed to put phones on hold, not people. As soon as that finger finds its way somewhere near my face I fight the urge to snap it and simply just leave.

To all the bartenders out there who are going to read this and say, “Hey bro, what’s the big deal?” I say you are in a business where making a lot of money is directly related to the happiness of the people you are serving. Talking to your boss because he or she believes they are more important than their customers means the bar they own won’t be in business much longer. Texting your friend that you can’t wait to get off work so you can get drunk is not going to put money in your tip bucket. Twittering every five minutes to keep your four followers informed on exactly what you are doing at all times is only going to leave you with an empty bar. Most importantly, to all be warned that the next time I see a bartender using their cell phone behind the bar I am going to snatch it and stuff it in a very dark place. I encourage you, the general drunken public, to do the same.

 

 


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